If you are like most of South Africa’s avid cyclists, you will no doubt already own a good quality bicycle. Owning a solid bike of your own gives you access to all of the nation’s best cycling tracks, from roads to mountain trails and more – but how much do you know about keeping your bike in tip-top shape?
Today we’ll be exploring regular bicycle maintenance and how you can keep your bike in peak condition over the long term. Here are our top tips to keep you and your precious equipment performing at its best.
Tip 1: Regular Servicing
Regular services are one of the most important things you can do to prolong the lifespan of your bike. Just like a car or truck, bikes need services to keep their parts running smoothly, replace worn or damaged components, and ensure that nothing is amiss. Some bicycle manufacturers recommend that have a major service at least once every 6 months, but once a year will normally do the trick. This depends on your usage of the bike as well; if you use it very regularly, you may want to consider servicing it at 6- or 9-month intervals.
Tip 2: Checking Seat Posts
We highly recommend checking your bicycle’s seat posts often to make sure that they are in good working order. You can do this by removing the posts and checking that they are adequately lubricated and don’t get stuck. Stuck seat posts can cause permanent damage to your bike, so it’s definitely in your best interests to check this often.
Tip 3: Replacing Your Chain
It’s common knowledge among cyclists that bicycle chains should be checked and replaced frequently. Your chain has everything to do with how your bike’s wheels spin, so it’s a very important piece of equipment to maintain. We suggest that you check and replace your chain after 50% wear, and not when you have 75% wear down. Replacing your chain at 75% can damage some of the other components in your bike, which can become an expensive procedure over time.
Tip 4: Service Your Shocks
Shocks absorb shock and impacts in bicycles, making them particularly important for anyone who values safety and comfort. You should be checking your shocks as often as possible – and have it serviced every 50-100 hours depending on manufacturers guidelines. Having shocks checked regularly when needed will help you to avoid issues in the future.
Tip 5: Avoid CO2 Bombs
CO2 bombs can be handy during emergencies, but this is really the only time you should be using them. If you are in an emergency, use a CO2 bomb in your tires and then replace the sealant as soon as you can. CO2 bombs can often react with the sealant inside your tire, causing your sealant be less effective.
Tip 6: Keeping your Bike Clean
While washing your bike is something would think to be something crucial to do frequently, you should focus more on the drivetrain which is essential to keep clean and well lubricated. This is important for many reasons, including keeping the bike’s components functioning smoothly and preventing build-up. When you have washed your entire bike, you must leave it outside to dry thoroughly before you pack it away inside. Moisture and damp can wreak havoc on your bike’s various parts, causing major issues later down the line.
Tip 7: Keep Your Tires Inflated
One of the most important factors when it comes to the quality of your bike rides is tire pressure. If your pressure is too low, you’ll damage your rims and tires causing you to get flats more often. Keep your pressure too high, you’ll have a less optimal grip and a less comfortable ride on the hills. Invest in a quality floor pump with a pressure gauge and follow the suggested pressure written on the side of your tires. The rear tires should have more pressure as they carry the bulk of your weight. Check your tire pressure at least once every 2 weeks for best results.